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‘Ajosepo’: Kayode Kasum’s Unusual Union of Family, Love and Chaos

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The Yoruba word ‘Ajosepo’ can be interpreted as “we do it together”. This phrase is not just a word; it encapsulates the Yoruba cultural context, suggesting that marriage isn’t just about two lovebirds uniting but about the whole family getting involved. And that’s exactly what the film, ‘Ajosepo’, is all about.

Whoops, there are a few spoilers ahead! But don’t worry, they’re non-disastrous.

Ajosepo

Directed by: Kayode Kasum
Written by: Dare Olaitan, Stephen Okonkwo
Genre: Comedy Drama
Released on: April 12, 2024 (Cinemas)
Language: English and Yoruba

Story

Ajosepo’ tells the story of Tani and Dapo, two soon-to-be-weds embarking on their introduction ceremony. But, their journey hits a rocky patch from the beginning especially when Dapo’s father engages in an affair right under the nose of the in-laws! This scandal becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back, sparking a chain reaction that unearths family secrets, reveals hidden hypocrisies, unravels past mistakes, and ultimately leads to the discovery of familial love amidst the chaos.

Plot

The plot gracefully unfolds from start to finish, presenting a seamless transition that keeps viewers engaged throughout. Each event flows naturally, following a chronological sequence that draws the audience deeper into the story as it progresses. From the initial introduction ceremony to the climactic revelations and resolution, every moment captures the audience’s attention precisely when needed.

The Cinema Experience

It was such a good time. The air buzzed with an infectious energy, heightened by the shared anticipation of the crowd. The silver screen burst into our eyes enveloping the audience into its story. With each scene unfolding, laughter echoed throughout the theatre, creating a joyous atmosphere that carried us from start to finish. However, as the film approached its conclusion, a handful of viewers chose to depart prematurely. But fear not, for we may have the twist in the tale that could shed light on their hasty exit.

Technical Aspects

From the outset, it was evident that meticulous attention to detail had been poured into the sound design. Every element, from the clinks of heels on marble tiles to the meticulously crafted set, exuded a sense of grandeur fit for a proposal (as Dapo should). As Tani approached, we could almost feel the anticipation building, mirroring her emotions in that pivotal moment. And then, as Dapo delivered his heartfelt speech, the scene came alive with emotion.

The strategic inclusion of drums in a scene ripe with covert sexual innuendos had me in stitches—it was simply hilarious. Note: The film received a 15 rating from the National Film and Video Censors Board, so the joke is almost suitable for that demographic. And let’s not overlook the cinematography and color grading, which were simply masterful. The harmonious blend of colors and clever angles were truly a feast for the eyes. Especially noteworthy were the scenes featuring long, static shots of Tani’s parents’ home, showcasing the architectural splendour of the house. With leading lines expertly guiding the viewer’s gaze towards the central focus, it was a beautiful sight. And let’s not forget the meticulous attention to detail, like the synchronization of colors between Dapo’s mum and her entourage.

From this, we can discern the intelligent creative, artistic interpretation evident not only in the cinematography for the visual storytelling but also in the costume design, lighting, and overall composition of each frame. Take, for instance, a scene where Dapo’s mother enters accompanied by her cohort of friends, all clad in the same colour scheme as the ambiance of her in-laws’ house. This deliberate choice serves as a subtle yet powerful reflection of her controlling and manipulative nature—a woman accustomed to asserting dominance wherever she goes. Indeed, as she strides in, she exudes an air of ownership, commanding and dictating to all in her vicinity. This nuanced portrayal serves as a foreshadowing of her character’s true nature, which becomes increasingly apparent as the story unfolds.

Performance

The performances in “Ajosepo” were truly exceptional, with Ronke Oshodi Oke delivering yet another standout portrayal as Dapo’s mother. Mercy Aigbe brought depth with an interesting mix of comedy to her role as Tani’s mother. The stellar cast also included Timini Egbuson, who brilliantly portrayed Jide, and Muyiwa Ademola, who brought gravitas to the character of Tani’s father. Tomike Adeoye (Tani), Lizzy Jay, Yemi Solade, Deyemi Okanlawon, Bisola Aiyeola, and Bolaji Ogunmola rounded out the ensemble with their impeccable performances, seamlessly blending comedy without exaggeration. The audience was particularly charmed by Lizzy Jay’s funny dialogue delivery and Timini’s sassy comebacks.

Final Thoughts

The father-son dynamic between Dapo’s dad and Jide, Dapo’s elder brother, was masterfully portrayed through Stephen Okonkwo’s brilliant dialogue writing. Despite earlier comparisons by Dapo’s mother, stating they were “like father, like son,” it’s in the scene where Jide and his father are driving to their in-law’s house that this natural chemistry truly shines. As they engage in conversation along the way, their shared use of words, pauses, and filler phrases highlight the deep familial bond between them—a bond conspicuously absent in Dapo’s relationship with his mother.

Every character, particularly those crucial to the plot of “Ajosepo”, has a rich backstory that is skillfully developed. Each personality was meticulously fleshed out, allowing audiences to connect with their journeys. However, in a narrative as intricate as this, pinpointing the protagonist proves challenging, as the focus seamlessly shifts between characters like Tani and Dapo, to Jide and his father, and so on.

This fluidity in perspective was executed with remarkable intelligence, ensuring that the motivations and drives of each character were authentically reflected in the unfolding story. Well, we can say this perspective truly fits the film’s title. It’s about “all of us”; all parties involved in the marriage.

Well, Nigerians sure do love to have a good laugh. This film did just that, eliciting laughter from the audience time and time again. However, amidst the praise, it’s important to address some areas of improvement.

One glaring issue that stood out was a major continuity error regarding day and night transitions. This could have been a production oversight that unfortunately slipped through to the final cut of the film, but I couldn’t help but notice. An example of this inconsistency occurred during the scene where Yetunde and Dapo’s dad were stuck together, and then two nurses were called to assist. While Tani’s mum emphasized that it is already night, (clearly we can see it’s already dark), when the room where Yetunde and Dapo’s dad were opens up, it appears to be broad daylight, creating a conflicting portrayal of time.

And how convenient for the family to conveniently house both a pediatrician and a gynecologist under one roof! Because, you know, every family just happens to have those specialists on speed dial. It almost felt like a plot device thrown in to pad out the film’s runtime to a solid 2 hours and 20 minutes! Exactly Jide’s point though. Why settle for a concise storyline when you can stretch it out with some medical expertise, right?

And here comes the grand finale, dragging on like a marathon runner who just won’t cross the finish line! Sure, the film had already hammered home its message, but apparently, the filmmakers felt the need to spell it out for the audience, just in case anyone missed the memo. Cue the party scene, where we witness Yetunde and Uncle Frank having their heart-to-heart.

Unto the next scene, Tani groveling to Dapo for her earlier outburst, and oh, let’s not forget the obligatory wedding party extravaganza. Because, you know, what’s a film all about marriage without the actual wedding scene, even when it’s as unnecessary and drawn-out as this one? We got the memo ages ago. But hey, what if it was intended for the teenage audience so they wouldn’t miss out on the messages, and then to provide a glaringly happy ending?

Verdict

Overall, “Ajosepo” excelled in many aspects, including performances, scripting, and production values, making it an enjoyable and engaging watch for audiences. While it had its flaws, such as continuity errors and narrative conveniences, these were overshadowed by its strengths. Therefore, despite its shortcomings, the film ultimately delivers a compelling and entertaining cinematic experience that is well worth watching. 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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